You are currently viewing Top 10 Lake Maggiore Italy things to do and amazing towns
Stresa Italy Lake Maggiore isola pescatori fisherman island lago maggiore 4 scaled

Top 10 Lake Maggiore Italy things to do and amazing towns

Welcome to our blog post on the top 10 things to do in Lake Maggiore, Italy! Prepare to embark on an unforgettable journey through breathtaking landscapes and discover the hidden treasures of charming lake towns. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or a food lover, Lake Maggiore offers a plethora of activities that will captivate your senses. From exploring picturesque islands to indulging in delectable Italian cuisine, this guide will showcase the best that Lake Maggiore offers. So, grab your sense of adventure and join us as we uncover the wonders of this enchanting destination. Let’s dive in and explore the must-visit attractions and amazing towns that make Lake Maggiore a true Italian gem!

The 10 Lake Maggiore Italy things to do

Lake Maggiore things to do. Here are the 10 best places on Lake Maggiore, those places that you just can’t miss:

  1. Borromean Islands
  2. Stresa
  3. Mottarone Stresa
  4. Sasso del Ferro Laveno
  5. Verbania and Villa Taranto
  6. Hermitage of Santa Caterina
  7. Cannero Riviera + Castles of Cannero + Cannobbio
  8. Locarno + Funicular + Orselina (Switzerland)
  9. Ascona (Switzerland)
  10. Brissago + Islands (Switzerland)

Borromean Islands and Fisherman Island

What is the first place where I bring my friends who have never been to Lake Maggiore? Definitely to the Borromean Islands! The 3 islands of the Borromean Gulf are a real jewel of Lake Maggiore. They are easily reachable by boat from Verbania, Stresa and Baveno, thanks to the Navigazione del Lago Maggiore service. There are also private transport services by motorboat.

1 / 10

Lake Maggiore, what to see? Borromean Islands

The Borromean Islands are an excellent choice for those who want to do a complete visit because they have all day free, but also for those who want to do only a half-day visit because they want to spend a more relaxing day or they simply have less time. In fact, it is not necessary to visit all three islands in one day to have a great day.

If you want more details about the Borromean Islands, go to the dedicated page: Lake Maggiore Borromean Islands Italy

Stresa Lake Maggiore

Stresa is one of the most famous towns on Lake Maggiore and it shows all its magnificence thanks to its luxurious hotels, amazing gardens and unique view of Isola Bella. To understand better, watch the following video. You can activate the subtitles in English.

Lake Maggiore Italy things to do and amazing towns: Stresa Lago Maggiore

If you want to learn more about the things to do in Stresa, read the following article: Top 10 Stresa Italy things to do Lake Maggiore.

Mottarone Stresa

Mottarone is the mountain that lies behind Stresa and is easily accessible by car. There are 2 roads: one a little longer and more winding which is free, and another is more convenient but requires the payment of a toll.

In any case, it is really worth going up the Mottarone as the real peculiarity of this place is that it offers a magnificent view of 7 lakes! On days when the sky is particularly clear, the spectacle is unforgettable.

Lake Maggiore Italy things to do: Mottarone Stresa.

As for nature on Mottarone, there is not only a beautiful view but you can also find some nice animals such as donkeys and cows.

For fun lovers on the Mottarone, there is Alpyland: a rail bob with which you can descend along a part of the mountain in a very fun way. The adjustable speed makes it suitable for everyone … even the less intrepid.

After all these activities, if you may be hungry: no problem because you can enjoy excellent food in one of the restaurants that we find right here. Surely a good lunch is never refused!

If you want to know more, go to the following post: Mottarone Stresa Lake Maggiore. On this page, you also find the name of the seven lakes you can see from the Mottarone.

3. Sasso del Ferro Laveno

The Sasso del Ferro is located just above Laveno. It can be reached by cable car or by following a path but the most convenient option is certainly the cable car you find in Laveno. 

We do not have a view of the 7 lakes from here, but the view is beautiful: you can see the entire Borromean Gulf.

A dinner here is always a special event. If, on the other hand, you prefer a more low-budget or simpler trip, you can also opt for a picnic or you can have something at the bar. In fact, here at the top of the Sasso del Ferro, there is not only a restaurant but also a bar.

Watch the following video where you can see the Sasso del Ferro and what you can visit in Laveno.

Lake Maggiore Italy things to do and amazing towns – Lake Maggiore Italy Laveno: things to do?

Verbania and Villa Taranto

Verbania is a magnificent location and an excellent place to visit in any season. Verbania is made up of 3 smaller towns: Pallanza, Intra and Suna. Verbania never tires you up.

In Verbania, you can take long walks along the lakefront, visit the magnificent botanical gardens of Villa Taranto, take the boat to the Borromean Islands, the ferry to Laveno and much more.

If you love long walks and relaxation, Verbania is definitely the place for you. In Verbania, there is a magnificent lakeside promenade of several kilometers.

Verbania also has two main beaches: Suna beach and Arena beach.

Verbania also boasts one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world: I Giardini di Villa Taranto.

If you want to know more, go to the following post: Top 10 Lake Maggiore Verbania what to do?

Hermitage of Santa Caterina

The hermitage of Santa Caterina is very characteristic because is built on rock and not much above the lake’s level. It is very suggestive seen from the lake and it is nice to observe the lake from the hermitage itself.

Watch the following video, where you can find out some helpful information on how to get to the Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso and where you can also discover the history of this place.

Lake Maggiore Italy things to do and amazing towns: Hermitage of Santa Caterina

Text of the video:

Hi Everybody, our next stop? The Hermitage of Santa Caterina del Sasso Lake Maggiore Italy.

The Hermitage of Santa Caterina is in my Top 10 things to see on Lake Maggiore.

It is an extraordinary place as it is set in the rock directly overlooking the waters of Lake Maggiore.

The Hermitage of Santa Caterina is a few kilometers from Laveno.

How to get to the Hermitage?

You have 2 options: by car or by boat.

If you choose the car option, you have to know that once you have parked the car, you have to go down a long staircase of 268 steps, which you then have to go up on the way back.

However, there is the possibility of taking the lift for a fee.

However, the best option to get to the Hermitage of Santa Caterina is by boat.

Much of the beauty, charm, and uniqueness of the hermitage can be appreciated when you observe it from the lake.

You can take the boat to the Hermitage of Santa Caterina from different locations: from Laveno, Stresa, and Verbania Pallanza for example.

Once you arrive at the Hermitage, you don’t need a lot of time to visit it: its main elements are a portico, a courtyard, and a small church.

What is the history of the Hermitage of Santa Caterina?

You can read some historical notes and other information in the subtitles while we still enjoy some scenes of the Hermitage.

According to tradition, the Hermitage was founded in 1170 by Alberto Besozzi, a wealthy local merchant.

This merchant escaped a shipwreck during a lake crossing.

So he made a vow to Saint Catherine to retire for the rest of his life in prayer and solitude in a cave on that stretch of coast and lead a hermit’s life there.

He then had a chapel dedicated to Santa Caterina built, currently visible at the bottom of the church. The chapel dates back to the 12th century.

The chapel was flanked by two other churches built by some Ispra nobles: San Nicola and Santa Maria Nova.

The existence of the two churches is certain, starting from the fourteenth century.

As you can see, our visit is over. At this point, I greet you. Bye, and see you on the next adventure!

Cannero Riviera + Castles of Cannero + Cannobbio

We have decided to include these 3 locations together as they are located in the same area and can be visited on the same day, especially thanks to the boat connections.

Cannero Riviera

Cannero Riviera is a splendid town on Lake Maggiore and is known for its beautiful lakefront and wide beach. To have a better idea about how Cannero is, you can watch the following video. In the video, the town is empty because it is December. In the summertime, Cannero is full of people.

This video starts from the Cannero beach and we go along the entire lakefront.

Then we explore the historic town center with its so characteristic streets. The video ends while we are on the boat for Cannobio. Thanks to this boat tour we enjoy the lake coast view and can see the Castles of Cannero. Watch the video!

Lake Maggiore Italy things to do and amazing towns: Cannero Riviera
2 / 19

Castles of Cannero

The Castles of Cannero have their unique charm. Their shape and location make the mind wander, imagining stories and adventures that took place right here.

In some periods of the year the Castles of Cannero can also be visited inside. If, on the other hand, you simply want to see them more closely, you can take the boat that from Cannero Riviera goes to Cannobio; the boat passes very close to the Castles of Cannero, more precisely between the coast of Lake Maggiore and the Castles of Cannero.

Watch the following video!

Lake Maggiore Italy things to do and amazing towns: Castles of Cannero

Text of the Video

Hi Everybody! We are on the Lake Maggiore. In this video, we see the Castles of Cannero from the boat. We see them first from the boat while sailing from Cannero Riviera to Cannobio.

These 2 villages are on the same side of Lake Maggiore, and therefore navigation is enjoyable as it allows us to admire this beautiful coast from the boat. We also pass very close to the Castles of Cannero and fully grasp their charm.

Now we are on the boat that goes from Luino to Cannero Riviera. Luino is on the opposite shore of Lake Maggiore from Cannero Riviera. This allows us to cross the entire lake going from one bank to another.

The crossing gives us a further away view of the Castles of Cannero, but it gives us beautiful images of this part of Lake Maggiore. We are very close to the border with Switzerland; in fact, Lake Maggiore also goes beyond the Swiss border.

We have now come to the end of this video. I greet you and see you in the following video! Like and subscribe. Bye!


Cannobio is another famous town on Lake Maggiore. Cannobio is located on the Piedmontese shore of Lake Maggiore near the Swiss border. Cannobio is easily recognizable by the row of buildings that directly overlook the main square and the lake.

In the following video, you can see Cannobio from the lake.

Lake Maggiore Italy things to do and amazing towns: Cannobio!

Locarno + Funicular + Orselina (Switzerland)

Locarno is a famous city in the Swiss part of Lake Maggiore. One of the most beautiful things you can do here is to take the funicular and cable car to reach the panoramic terrace of Cardada. Watch the following video, which explains better what you can see from here.

Video panoramic terrace of Cardada

We are in Switzerland at Lake Maggiore and in this video, we see a beautiful complete view of the swiss part of Lake Maggiore. Let’s go to see it!

Lake Maggiore Switzerland Amazing Complete View – Lake Maggiore Italy things to do and amazing towns

See also: TOP 3 Lago Maggiore Switzerland things to do

Brissago + Islans (Switzerland)

The Brissago Islands are two islands: the Isola Grande and the Isola Piccola. The Isola Grande can be visited. On the Isola Grande, a botanical garden was created in the late nineteenth century, and a neoclassical villa was built in the 1920s.

YouTube Channel

Have you already Subscribed to our YouTube Channel? Subscribe here!

Lake Maggiore Italy things to do – Related posts:

Lake Maggiore Italy



Lake Garda Italy


Lake Como

Frequent questions

What are some popular places to stay in and around Lago Maggiore – Italy?

Borromean Islands
Mottarone Stresa
Sasso del Ferro Laveno
Verbania and Villa Taranto
Hermitage of Santa Caterina
Cannero Riviera + Castles of Cannero + Cannobbio
Locarno + Funicular + Orselina (Switzerland)
Ascona (Switzerland)
Brissago + Islans (Switzerland)

Which is nicer Lake Como or Lake Maggiore?

Lake Como is more famous intentionally but this doesn’t make it better than Lake Maggiore. Lake Maggiore has amazing and unique places to visit. Lake Como has nothing like the Borromean Islands of Lake Maggiore, Eremo di Santa Caterina or Mount Mottarone, from where you can see seven lakes.

Are there alligators in Lake Maggiore?

No, there are no alligators in Italian lakes like Lake Maggiore, Lake Garda, or Lake Como. You don’t have to worry about alligators, as maybe you can do in Florida or in other states.